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185 days straight, jumping in the lake

Mercer Island sixth-grader Declan Chapin has jumped into Lake Washington 185 times. Her last jump was on Christmas Day. - Contributed Photo
Mercer Island sixth-grader Declan Chapin has jumped into Lake Washington 185 times. Her last jump was on Christmas Day.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Thinking about those New Year’s resolutions for 2013?

Consider the toughness and tenacity of 11-year-old Declan Chapin.

The Islander Middle School sixth-grader took on a unique challenge this past summer: jumping into Lake Washington every single day until Christmas.

As of Dec. 20, Chapin had taken the plunge for 180 days straight. Her family and friends joined her on the final day, Christmas, when the air temperature fell below 40 degrees.

“It’s been really cold,” Chapin said without irony, adding, “There are a lot of interesting people at the lake.”

Chapin’s jumping-off point is Calkins Landing, in the East Seattle neighborhood, off of 60th Avenue S.E. She began in July, and with the support of her family and friends, has developed a strong mental toughness, and most importantly has had fun, she said.

Chapin swims with the Mercer Island Country Club team, and according to her mother, Loretta Soffe, really enjoys it.

“She set her mind to it in July that she would get in the water every day,” Soffe said.

Soffe and her husband, Sam Chapin, are both lifelong Island residents. Soffe was a swimmer at Mercer Island High School and the University of California at Berkeley, and she is listed on the MIHS Athletics Hall of Fame.

 

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